I was feeling so guilty this week. I had 2 staff meetings back to back so my husband had to pick up Jules at work. Then I had dinner with my college girls who I haven’t seen alone (without kids) in about 9 years. I taught Zumba and oh, I got a job teaching English to kids in China via FaceTime. Any time I do something that interferes with my husbands time or expectations of time, it ends up in a fight. Have you ever had one of those “scoreboard fights?” Yes, the ones that sound like this- “You already went out this week. You’re getting a massage? But you already got your hair done? I need more time. I’ve been with the kids all night. The kids won’t listen to me. I’ve only been away overnight once.” Yes, those ugly resentful fights that make you feel guilty. The ones that make you think- wait, should I not be doing so much?
I do a lot. I’m a full time special ed teacher, I teach Zumba 1-2x per week, I’m a sorta kinda stunt coach for a college cheerleading team 1-2x per month, I teach kids in China all the wee hours of then night, I run 30 miles a week, and most importantly, I’m a mom to 2 amazingly active toddlers that need me and love me more than I ever thought possible. My husband is a firefighter by day, but a go getter, barn builder, money chaser, never stop til he gets it right kinda dude- We are way more alike than I want to admit. Our happy moments? Our feel good things? They are so different.
I ran 6 miles this morning (because I’m crazy and have a weekly mile average of 30 and I want to rest tomorrow- but also because if I don’t run I’ll go crazy aka I’m in no meds and I live for endorphins), then I taught Zumba and showered at the gym. I felt so guilty that I even got to shower at the gym while my husband was home chasing the kids because God knows men (not all) can’t handle that. I kept fighting that internal battle in my head- you had staff meetings, dinner with friends, oh and you’re getting your hair done today AND going on a date with your husband for the first time in forever. I drove home and somehow ended up at LuAnns, this amazing bakery in town. I felt content, happy, and finally excited to look forward to something. When you’re always on the go, always rushing, always doing something and always feeling guilty, those happy moments are like crack. Those happy moments just became the best day ever. Just being in the car with the radio on, excited to get my hair done (and anyone that knows me knows I love love love getting my hair played with) and go to dinner. Then I saw a friend I haven’t seen in forever. She bought me a (decaf duh) coffee and told me I looked so happy and glowy- no not pregnant. She actually saw what I felt on the inside. Those moments are rare because when I tell you my days fly, it’s no joke. And lately I feel like I don’t have much to look forward to. In that moment I stopped feeling guilty. Self care looks different on everyone. Life was meant to be lived- to have happy moments and to enjoy them. To look forward to things (intermittently). To not feel guilty for not being home or with the kids all the time.
It takes a village to shut my mind off but over the years I have realized it’s my own enemy. I have learned to do more things that make you feel good, make you feel happy- whether that’s getting your hair done twice a year or every month. Whether that means binge watching every single episode of Friends over and over again. Or maybe it means you vow to have dinner once a month with a friend or your husband. Maybe it means going to dinner by yourself. My husband loves to listen to self improvement podcasts, attend conferences, read, work in his barn…Our bodies are in constant fight or flight. As working parents, we are constantly moving fluidly through our days and before you know it, the day is over and we are right back to our “scoreboard fight.” Why? Because our buckets (I teach elementary and we talk about things that fill our buckets aka our happy tanks) are slowly emptying and we are all clawing for those happy moments.
Do more happy moments. Do more of what makes you happy. Stop feeling guilty. It’s difficult to listen to your heart and soul because your mind is constantly telling you to go go go. Heck, I feel guilty sitting down. I legit don’t know what it feels like to be relaxed- ask my hairdresser. Today I fell asleep when she was doing my hair and I wanted to cry because I had that aha moment of ohhhhh okay this is what it’s like to be relaxed.
Be mindful of the things that make you happy. It’s okay to shut off your mind. In fact, research shows that shutting off your mind once in a you helps you expand your awareness and calmness within. Your intuition becomes sharper, your mind becomes sharper, and it becomes easier to shake of worries and fears, which most of us face daily.
External distractions and obstacles don’t disappear just because you are on the path of inner growth. Most often you become more sensitive and more aware of those distractions (I call that guilt and worry). This of course makes shutting the mind off more difficult, and makes you feel you are not making any progress. But it’s okay. Self care, finding what makes you happy? That’s progress.
I challenge you to find one or two things to look forward to weekly. I’d like to even say daily, but start out slow if this is a new thing for you. We are so deep-rooted in habit and routine. We have expectations of ourselves and our time.
You are worth those happy moments. You are worth feeling good. You are worth looking forward to something, no matter how small or how big. Collect those happy moments ❤